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Hamline University Faculty Call for President's Resignation After Art History Instructor's Dismissal

Hamline University faculty leaders are calling for the resignation of Hamline President Dr. Fayneese Miller after her handling of a case where the school dismissed an art history instructor showing depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in a course, the Associated Press reported.Dr. Fayneese MillerDr. Fayneese Miller

The majority of members who attended a Jan. 24 meeting – 71 of 92– voted to demand Miller’s immediate resignation, Hamline faculty leaders said, citing a lost of confidence in Miller and a violation of academic freedom.

Adjunct instructor Erika López Prater had shown centuries-old artwork depicting the Prophet Muhammad in an October lesson on Islamic art, warning the class beforehand because visual depictions of him violate many Muslims’ faith, she said. But a Muslim student had said seeing the artwork in question violated her religious beliefs.

López Prater  later sued the school, alleging religious discrimination and defamation, after it did not renew her contract. Amid criticism, Miller admitted her mishandling of the incident.

“Like all organizations, sometimes we misstep,” Miller said in a joint statement with the chair of the school’s board of trustees. “In the interest of hearing from and supporting our Muslim students, language was used that does not reflect our sentiments on academic freedom. Based on all that we have learned, we have determined that our usage of the term ‘Islamophobic’ was therefore flawed.”

Miller and her team are discussing how to respond to the vote, a Hamline spokesperson said. Meanwhile The American Association of University Professors has launched an inquiry and is planning to visit the campus in February.

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